David Bardsley has spoken of the atmosphere at Sunderland under former manager Paolo di Canio.
The fullback was never going to survive at Sunderland if the Italian had remained in charge.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "You have got to have a very good team spirit. I think that was beyond dead six months ago. Now we have dug it out.
"The manager came in and gave the players a new lease of life, and everyone is taking their opportunity. That's what you need week in, week out because there's decent competition at the club.
"When I came in, the team only had one point, but now we are on the way to getting out of it."
Bardsley added on his row with Di Canio: "It was probably one of the lowest points of my career, to be honest with you. But when the manager called me back into the squad, I knew I had more to offer this football club.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity he gave me and I thought I had to repay him with performances. Hopefully I'm doing that."
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